Mixing hen raised chicks in with the flock


7 Years
May 19, 2012
I have two hens that have raised their chicks in two different large dog kennels inside the coop. The kennels are in a corner where the flock (15 including the rooster) walks past to nest, eat, get water, and roost. The chicks are about 5 weeks old. Can anyone advise how and when to mix the new chicks and broody hens with the rest of the flock? The hens with chicks are starting to try and escape when I open the pens to feed and water. I let one hen out with her chicks in the coop while the flock was out in the pasture yesterday and she attacked the other hen that was in the other dog kennel. There was fence fighting with both hens pecking each other through the kennel wiring. I had to take the hen and chicks to the outside enclosed pen to stop the fight. The flock came to the door of the enclosed pen to see the chicks. The rooster led some away but a few hung around and tried to get in. I have an enclosed pen (lean-to) that is attached to the coop that one passes through to get in and out of the coop. The flock passes through the enclosed pen to get from the coop to the outside pasture. I use the enclosed pen in the winter for the flock to get outside but still be covered from the snow or rain. I also have hens that pull feathers off other hens, no real pecking, just grab a feather, yank and run holding the feather like a quarterback holding a football with the other hens chasing and trying to grab the feather. Lots of bare backed hens running around with sunburns now. Something that the chicks will have to face when they mix in.

I think you should let the broodies lose with the rest of the flock and guard them with a water pistol. If anyone makes trouble squirt them. It won't harm them and they'll get the message.
When they start taking feathers like that do they eat them?

I read some place that it means they are lacking something in their diet. Don't quote me on that tho but something you can look into.

I would let the hens out with their flock and keep the babies locked up until they are as big as the other hens and able to defend themselves.

The way I introduce new chickens to my flock that I have hatched is I wait till night fall put them in the coop while its dark put them on a roost when they wake up they just act like they have always been together.
The water pistol sounds great as my hens learn very fast. I will give it a try as soon as I acquire a water pistol. The feather snatching is like a trophy and they do not usually eat the feather unless it is small. I put cod liver oil in the water to provide Vita.B during the winter and they still pulled feathers, but they also started laying eggs the end of January. Friend thought the feather pulling was because they were bored and they were entertaining themselves. Tried the "flock block" and it seemed to keep them occupied for awhile. The feather pulling slowed a lot when the flock was turned out into the pasture this spring.

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